Quantum walks and wavepacket dynamics on a lattice with twisted photons
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The “quantum walk” has emerged recently as a paradigmatic process for the dynamic simulation of complex quantum systems, entanglement production and quantum computation. Hitherto, photonic implementations of quantum walks have mainly been based on multipath interferometric schemes in real space. We report the experimental realization of a discrete quantum walk taking place in the orbital angular momentum space of light, both for a single photon and for two simultaneous photons. In contrast to previous implementations, the whole process develops in a single light beam, with no need of interferometers; it requires optical resources scaling linearly with the number of steps; and it allows flexible control of input and output superposition states. Exploiting the latter property, we explored the system band structure in momentum space and the associated spin-orbit topological features by simulating the quantum dynamics of Gaussian wavepackets. Our demonstration introduces a novel versatile photonic platform for quantum simulations.
© The Authors 2015 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).
Quantum Information, Computation and Communication